The Road from Coorain was the first in Conway's trilogy of memoirs. True North (1994) is the story of her immigration to America in pursuit of intellectual fulfilment and a Harvard PhD in history. A Woman's Education (2001) tells the story of her move from history professor at the University of Toronto to the Presidency of Smith College.
The book begins on the sheep station in the western grasslands of New South Wales, Australia, where Conway was born, 30,000 acres of grazing land that her parents settled in 1929.
Jill Ker Conway tells the story of her astonishing journey into adulthood—a journey that would ultimately span immense distances and encompass worlds, ideas, and ways of life that seem a century apart. She was seven before she ever saw another girl child. At eight, still too small to mount her horse unaided, she was galloping miles, alone, across Coorain, her parents' thirty thousand windswept, drought-haunted acres in the Australian outback, doing a "man's job" of helping herd the sheep because World War II had taken away the able-bodied men. A severe drought and her father's death drove the family to Sydney, where Conway's struggle to get an education and make something of herself began.